Gold Mine Which Sickened Villagers to Reopen in Thailand

The Thai government has given the Chatree Mining complex permission to operate again after it was shut down in 2017, following years of multiple complaints and lawsuits from villagers, claiming the mines damaged their health and the environment.

Chatree, a subsidiary of Australia’s Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd., has two ore fields and two processing plants in central Thailand.

Before its closing in 2017, Mongabay, a conservation, and environmental science news platform reported that Chatree produced more than 1.8 million ounces (51,000 metric tons) of gold and more than 10 million ounces (283,00 metric tons) of silver since it began production.

Previously, a group of 300 residents filed a class-action suit demanding compensation for health problems, while another group filed cases accusing the company of trespassing on national forest land.

In January 2022, Thailand granted the company permission to resume and extend the concession nine more years, which meant that another survey concession would cover nearly 61,000 hectares (150,000 acres).

However, company representative Cherdsak said it would take months before operations can resume.

“The earliest may be before the end of this year,” Cherdsak said.

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